FRANKFORT– The Kentucky General Assembly is closing in on one week until lawmakers return to Frankfort and resume PART II of the 2023 Regular Session. The legislative break has been a busy and productive time for me. I have had the opportunity to meet with a wide range of stakeholders, constituents, and government officials to hear the issues most important to the people I serve.
One of the most pressing matters I frequently hear about and have been focusing on is education. I have been meeting with teachers, administrators, and parents to gain a better understanding of the challenges that our schools are facing and to identify ways that we can support them moving forward. A general consensus among legislators is implementing policies that improve the educational outcomes for all Kentucky students, regardless of their background or circumstances. The question now is: how do we get there?
As the state and nation confront a major shortage of teachers following the COVID-19 pandemic, many, such as Governor Andy Beshear, consider an across-the-board wage increase as the best path to boost recruitment and retention among teachers. Others contend that the best way forward is to provide more “choice” in Kentucky’s education system by advancing initiatives to develop charter schools and privatizing education.
I tend to agree with the Governor in this regard, as I believe public education is the cornerstone of a democratic society and a fundamental right for all children to have access to quality education. Nevertheless, our students and teachers alike deserve the best resources, opportunities, and support to foster a dynamic, effective, and equitable learning environment. Whichever course of action the legislature chooses, ensuring quality and accessible education will remain a paramount concern of mine as we move forward.
Additionally, I have met with numerous state agencies and stakeholders on a number of pressing matters such as tax reform, infrastructure, public safety, medical marijuana, sports betting, vital assistance programs, and juvenile justice, among other topics. These conversations provide me with greater insight into the challenges our people face and how we can best identify the most effective solutions.
I will continue having these exchanges and urge you to participate so your voice is heard, too. Your input helps guide me in deliberations and discourse with my colleagues in Frankfort about the real-life effects of these policies on everyday Kentuckians. That being said, I am committed to staying engaged with you and being accessible.
The dedication of our local tourism and nonprofit organizations in Northeast Kentucky helps promote the natural beauty of our communities and the welfare of our citizens. On Monday, I joined the Governor and other dignitaries at the Highland Museum and Discovery Center in Ashland to recognize their accomplishments. The contributions of these groups are commendable and will undoubtedly inspire others to join in the collaborative efforts of making Northeast Kentucky a better place for all of the commonwealth.
When members of the Kentucky General Assembly return to the Capitol on Tuesday, February 7, I look forward to bringing your insights and feedback to the table throughout the 2023 session. I am determined to carry the voices of my constituents to Frankfort and make progress on the issues that are most important to them.
For additional information on the 2023 session, visit www.legislature.ky.gov, where you can see the weekly schedule, watch live and archived coverage of committee meetings, search legislator contact information, learn about the legislative process, view informational materials, and request to testify at committee meetings.
If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. To share feedback on an issue, feel free to email me anytime at Robin.Webb@LRC.KY.GOV or call the General Assembly Message Line at 1-800-372-7181. Kentuckians with hearing loss can use Kentucky Relay by dialing 711.